Who Needs Cyber Babble?


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By Carl Weiss

English: seo block
English: seo block (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you think that cell phone-speak is an arcane corruption of the English language, you will appreciate this article where we cover how cyber babble got its start and how it continues to proliferate online.  Ever since the first computer geeks started noodling around with computer code, there has been a disconnect between the way technical people communicate with one another and the Queen's English.  As different as the language was back in Shakespeare's day, to the present idiom, the question is one of whether cyber babble is just a flash in the pan, or whether it represents a true evolution in our mother tongue.  So, if you don’t know a SERP from an ALT tag, this is the article you’ll want to read.  OMG, LOL (Oh my God and Laugh Out Load or Lots of Love depending on how you use it).

When it comes to my day job, which is helping people succeed online, I am often confronted with prospective clients who are dazed and bewildered by online marketers who make themselves seem important by spouting cyber babble when asked even the simplest of questions.  I don’t know if they do this simply because they are dyed-in-the-wool computer nerds that speak a language all their own.  Or maybe it’s because they want their prospects to think that all SEO experts are part of some secret cabal. All I can say is all it does is undermine the job that I and other legitimate online marketing professionals have to do.  More importantly, when I question most of their clients about what it was that they were paying for, they look at me like deer in the headlights.

What is SEO Cyber Babble?

optimizare SEO
optimizare SEO (Photo credit: optimizare-seo)
Make no mistake, today’s so called SEO experts love to spout cyber babble. While intoning mantras like SERPs and Keyword Density may sound impressive, what it means for generating online visibility is absolutely nothing.  (As far as I know, you put SERP on your pancakes.)  When it comes to making your website sticky, well that is another matter altogether.  Naming something its acronym, (i.e. SERP’s) does nothing to make it happen. SERP stands for search engine results page and just means where you are currently showing up. Other terms you'll hear bantered around are cloaking, sandbox, link sculpting, link bait, SEM and link farm among others. Here is a link to an article that provides lots of these cyber babble words and their definitions, (which are more often not any better than the words they define).

Now here are the facts! Search Engine Optimization has changed so radically in the past few years that it is hardly recognizable. Almost all old methods of using trickery for achieving page rank is useless. Unless you did it the best way in the first place. This has always been by producing the best quality content that is relevant, timely and useful for your particular industry. Most SEO tech primarily dabbled in trickery because it product the greatest results for the least amount of effort on their part.

Go back five years and ninety percent of everything you needed to please even the most finicky of search engines was on your homepage.  (The other ten percent being backlinks.)  Today, only twenty five percent of what the search engines use for ranking is contained on-site.  The other seventy-five percent is contained off-site, including blogs, social networks, videos, podcasts and authoritative backlinks. 

While it is still important to include Meta tags (code contained at the top
Delicious Tags
Delicious Tags (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)
 of the page that identifies the site’s content) and ALT tags (used to identify images), it is just as important to provide prospects with everything they need to make a buying decision on the homepage or landing page.  Gone are the days when people will spend five to ten minutes clicking around your site to decide whether or not to do business with you.  Statistics show that you have less than two minutes to dangle the bait and reel in the fish.  If the prospect has a tough time finding your phone number and/or address because your website contains twenty five unrelated links, or if they are confused in any way, they are gone.

The Five Must Have Elements For Web Page Success

If you want to turn clicks into cash, then what you need are the following five items in plain sight, (i.e. above the fold):

Photo Credit: techmerry.com
1.      Phone Number – Nobody wants to click onto a subsidiary page to find your telephone information.  That is so old school.  Make sure your phone number is highly visible at the top of the page, especially if you want to do business with anyone online.
2.      Address – With all the cybercrime going on, people need to know that your business is on the up and up. This means they want to see a physical address. If you don’t want to be taken for a fly-by-night operation, make sure your street address and a Google map is in plain sight.
3.      Intro Video – Since 99% of the people that click onto your site have never done business with you and since you have less than 2-minutes to get their attention, why not commission a unique selling proposition video that tells your prospects why they should do business with you. At the end, asks for the sale?
4.      Testimonial Videos – Want to turn your best customers into your best sales people?  Create a short interview video that lets them tell the world what kind of experience they had with you. Companies who rely on testimonial blurbs don’t realize that most visitors don’t believe these quotes and write them off as fake.
5.      A Compelling Offer – Many times when prospective clients ask me what they need to do to start selling more products and services online, I tell them they need to provide prospects with an offer that takes the risk out of buying. It has to make them want to give your business a try.

Before You Trust a So Call SEO Expert, Ask Them These Questions

Like it or not, when you trust your online marketing to an outside agency, you are putting your business’ future in their hands.  Should they make one wrong move you could find your website delisted or even blackballed.  If this happens, it could take months or even years to climb back up to page one.  Below are ten questions you need to ask any online marketing agency:

1.      Ask how long have you been doing online marketing?
2.      Ask them to be specific for each service?
Asking Questions
Asking Questions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3.      Ask what services do you provide? (Web design, SEO, blogging, social networking, email marketing, video production)?
4.      Ask which services they out source, if any?
5.      If they say they provide SEO services, ask them to explain exactly what mean by SEO and they will be doing for you?
6.      Ask how many clients do you currently have?
7.      Ask about their experience in your industry?
8.      Ask what kind of guarantees do you offer if any?
9.      Also, ask what the recourse is if they fail?
10.  Ask If you can view some video testimonials from their clients?
11.  Ask if you can contact some of their current clients?
12.  Ask if they have ever won any awards?
13.  Ask how often can I expect to hear from you once I sign up?
14.  Ask how long do you the client have to continue using their services to get results?
15.  Ask what do you do if you am dissatisfied with one or more of their services?
16.  Ask to see content they have created? This can include landing pages, blogs, videos, podcast, slide share and social network post. The more the better. Not seeing tangible evidence of online efforts is a dead giveaway that they are going to take your money and run.

You will be able to get off on the right foot if you have a clear understanding of the responsibilities of both parties. By being able to verify the answers to the above questions, you will be better able to make a wise decision. Not verifying the agency abilities and guarantees can lead to disastrous results, as Google will blackball and de-list any web property that they deem as using black hat trickery to obtain organic page ranking. Choosing the right company will get the results you want and you will be able to sleep better at night. Most importantly, you will have something tangible to show for the effort. 

In this article I have provided how SEO companies often use cyber babble to trick unsuspecting business into using their services. I further go on to provide five crucial elements every web page needs to improve ranking and customer conversion along with a comprehensive 16-point questionnaire that can be used to find a reputable internet marketing agency.

If you found this article to be useful, share it with friends, family, co-workers and associates. If you have something to add or a difference of opinion, place that in the comments section.  I hope this information helps you find a company that does not use cyber babble.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “Internet marketing” or "SEO" in the search box at the top left of this blog.

Now please pass the SERP.


If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will send you this free eBook. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.



Carl Weiss is president of Working the Web to Win, a digital marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida.   You can listen to Carl live every Tuesday at 4pm Central on BlogTalkRadio.

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How to Get Fish to Jump in The Boat - A Social Media Analogy

By Hector Cisneros

Social Media Iceberg
Social Media Iceberg (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)
Last week, a business broker friend said they had a client that could use my help with his Internet marketing and social media development. The broker gave me the client’s website address and contact information. As I do with all potential clients, I created an initial analysis of that business’ current search engine ranking, social media utilization, global presence, and market competitiveness to see if they could use my help.

When I looked at this particular business’ overall position, I noticed it had done some things well, had done other things poorly, and some things it had ignored altogether.

I created a short, one-page report and sent it to my broker friend to see if their client was willing to meet and review the details of what I’d found. I wanted to discuss how they could possibly address weaknesses in their current program and take advantage of some opportunities I’d discovered.

They Had Developed a fan base of Over 4,000 Followers - a Pretty Good List

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey th...
English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey that lists Social Media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My report showed this business had a good Google search ranking, it was also doing well with Facebook by developing a fan base of over 4,000 followers, and it had created a  pretty good list of YouTube videos for its products. However, my report also pointed out it had a very poor Twitter presence, no LinkedIn or Google+ followers, and no blog at all. 

Two days later, my broker friend said their client felt they weren’t ready to do anything right now. The broker's client complained their experience with social media had produced very few sales, and that they didn’t want to spend any money on improving their social media campaign, and wasn’t ready to talk.  


The reason I share this story is that it’s typical of the kind of misunderstanding that most businesses have about how social media works. Also, it shows how a business will focus on just one aspect of a conversation, instead of taking in the big picture that was presented. I was prepared to offer this client free insights about their strategic Internet presence, but they were stuck on their lackluster foray into social media, which had not met their expectations.

Today’s Internet marketing is made up of a three sequential processes:

First, you have to be found. Second, you have to establish credibility and trust. And third, you have to establish a method or message that converts a visit to a sale. They normally happen in that order.
Social Media: Changing Business
Social Media: Changing Business (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

Whether your marketing occurs in the search engines or social media, all three steps must be completed. If you’re not being found, no one will call, or click to buy your products or services. If no one trusts you, your message or quality won’t matter. If your message is not compelling, focused and easily understood, you will convert far fewer sales.

My broker friend’s client had focused on the fact they had only received a handful of sales from his social media efforts. They did not take the time to look at their overall strategic position. Most businesses expect social media to produce direct sales, when, in fact, social media generally supports sales by building credibility. Social media is best used in Step Two of the above-mentioned marketing process. Social media normally doesn’t make sales directly (unless you’re using Pay Per Click [PPC] in social media). The best way to understand social media is to think of it as an electronic version of word-of-mouth marketing. People generally use social media to find out who’s worth buying from. Social media works best when others sing your praises, not when you toot your own horn.  


Remember this rule: No one joined a social network to be sold to. They joined to connect with people, find useful information, be entertained, or learn something new.

Business owners will often say they posted special offers that talked about how great their products or services are (that is, tooting their own horns), with little or no sales to show for their efforts. Again, social media is not about selling, it’s more about telling, sharing, and educating. It's about building trust, and letting your customers’ word-of- mouth and positive feedback do the selling.
Social Media Phobias
Social Media Phobias (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

For example, if you have a Facebook fan base of 4,000 followers, you’ve developed a nice sized “fishing pond.” You’re now ready to fish. However, the bait you use has to be special in this pond. You’ll want to encourage your fans to post how wonderful your products are. Small inducements can be used; even a sincere thank you can go a long way to getting their positive testimonials posted. Newcomers will read their posts and will likewise believe your products or services are wonderful, even though they’ve never tried them. They’re now more likely to buy your product or service over a competitor’s. This method increases your credibility and often leads to increased sales of your products or services.


Make Sure You're Measuring These Events

To ensure you can measure these events, make certain you provide a unique offer, have an easy-to-find and easy-to-fill-out contact form, create a tracking phone number, and/or require that new customers mention your timely special when they make their purchase. Most of these tracking elements can be part of your Fan or landing page. You can even couple the use of testimonials with PPC ads. In Facebook, testimonials can be used as part of the ad copy in your PPC advertising campaign. That’s right; the testimonials can actually be part of the ad, which then can be tracked via your Facebook’s insight statistics.

Pay Per Click can be a direct sales method used in social media. 

Facebook Insights : Likes
Facebook Insights : Likes (Photo credit: tsand)
This method is “old school fishing” via ads that are run in the side margins of your social media pages. PPC ads can generate direct sales, but they’re far less effective without the testimonials. These PPC ads work only because of the trust you’ve built with your customer base. If they didn’t trust you enough to buy your products or services, they would’ve never tried it in the first place, much less have recommended you in one of their posts. If you never received a recommendation, you’d have a less effective ad. Again, the point is that social media is more about building trust than selling.  It’s chumming the water before you start fishing.

News Letter Need to Contain 90% Infotainment and 10% Sales Message

EXIT 2012 January newsletter
EXIT 2012 January newsletter (Photo credit: Exit Festival)

Once you’ve developed your fan base of a 1,000 + followers, (i.e., created your fishing pond), you’ll want to harvest their contact information so you can connect with your fans and followers in more than one way. Email newsletters can be very effective if you use a soft sales approach.  Again, this type of marketing needs to be 90% credibility building and 10% selling. You’ll need to provide useful and relevant information that your followers want, need, and are interested in. The remaining 10% needs to provide special offers, timely inducements or other enticements. Don’t just talk about how great your product or service is, or that they need to buy your products or services before the special ends. Give them a legitimate reason to buy something. You’ll need to provide a way for your followers to opt out of your email newsletters, if they so choose.

When my business broker friend told me their client hadn't received but a dozen sales from their Facebook efforts, I wanted to ask the question: “Whose fault was that?” I also wanted to ask that business owner if they had engaged their followers in touch marketing in any way. I wondered how often they’d been sending newsletters to their followers or posting coupons on their Facebook fan page. I also wanted to ask if they’d been engaging their followers with contests or any other social media methods. It would’ve been nice to know if they’d tried story ads using testimonials in PPC. Given the poor results of this business’ non-existent social media effort, the probable answers to any of the above questions was, “No, I haven’t.” 

I shared with my broker friend my analogy about Facebook and the fishing pond. I explained how having a large Facebook fan base is similar to having one’s own private pond that’s fully stocked with one’s favorite fish. “What your client’ did was take their boat out on their pond and demand that the fish jump into the boat, just because it’s their pond,” I explained. Given the fact they had a dozen customers buy something showed that some were ready to jump into the boat, even though that business had used the wrong bait. Their Facebook fan base was a captive audience that was ready to bite (that is, make a purchase) once they had earned their trust and had treated them special.

In Order to Catch a Lot of Fish, You have to Use the Right Bait


'Gator Bait
'Gator Bait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, in order to catch lots of fish (sell lots of products), this business still had to offer these fish (fans) something they want.  At very least, they still needed to provide offers (baited hook), and communicate with their fans (chum the water and drop lines to the pond to catch a fish). They needed to provide regular daily engagement at the very minimum. In other words, they still had to engage fans with useful information,  contests, coupons, thank you’s and touch marketing. They had to encourage their fans to provide testimonials by thanking them publicly in newsletters, on their Facebook pages or by providing them with exclusive coupons to show them that they are special.  And they needed to educate their fans so that they not only understood the features and benefits of their products and services, they needed their fans to understand they’re special and important to the business. Engaging fans in this way will build credibility, thereby establishing a business as the expert, go-to company in their industry. More importantly, it will build loyal fans.  

The reality was, this business person hadn’t fished in their pond properly. They expected the fish (i.e., fans) to just jump in the boat. Like this business owner, many others fail when trying to make social media work for them. A business owner’s ignorance of how to fish in their private pond doesn’t mean the fish aren’t biting. Those in business that want to catch fish (i.e. customers) have to learn the right bait to use, when the fish are hungry, and know the best time of day to find the fish. In social media, you have to engage fans regularly, provide useful infotainment, use the right inducement and the right message. You also have to post your messages at the right time and in the right places so that your message can be seen and acted on.


A Golden Rule for Social Networking: Quantity Matters!



The Golden Rule (He who has the gold makes the...
The Golden Rule (He who has the gold makes the rules; To rule is golden; Gold goes where gold is; etc., etc.) (Photo credit: Walter A. Aue)
I want to end this story by mentioning the importance of the number of fish in your pond. A Golden Rule for social networking is: quantity matters! More is always better. The more followers, friends, or connections, the merrier. Marketing to groups of less than 100 has no synergy. For social media to be effective, you have to reach the first stage of critical mass. This means having at least 1,000 followers. The business person I’ve been discussing only had 27 Twitter followers and no Google+ or LinkedIn followers. However, they had 4,000 Facebook fans. A nice size fishing pond. “The Sales Rule of 10” can be applied to social networking for determining effective group size. In other words, to reach 100 people quickly, you have to have about 1,000 followers. The bottom line? Numbers matter. Sending a message to a few hundred people won’t produce much of an impact. However, if you send a message to 10,000 people, the odds are 1,000 will be reading it within minutes. So understand my point: It’s not how big the network is (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), it’s the number of followers you’re connected to that counts. 

In this article, I discussed how developing a social network following is similar to creating a fishing pond. I also talked about why social networks are primarily used to build trust before you can generate sales. I pointed out the important factors that determine success and what you have to do after you’ve developed a large following.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with friends, family co-workers and associates. If you have something to add or a difference of opinion, place them in the Comments section.  It has been my pleasure sharing this story with you.

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours. 

If you like this article, you can find more by typing "Internet marketing" in the search box at the top left of this blog.

If you'd like a copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll send you our free eBook. Your information is always kept private is never sold. 


 
Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning Working the Web to Win company, based in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on Twitter,  Facebook,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of Blog Talk Radio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer for EzineOnline and is an active blogger (including ghost writing). He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(on sale at Amazon and B&N) and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get for free by clicking on our website, WorkingtheWebtoWin.com.

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CYBERGREED: How the Loss of Net Neutrality Would Rock Your World

Monopoly Tycoon
Monopoly Tycoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Carl Weiss

What is Net Neutrality and how could its loss rock the world as you know it?  Way back in 1995, when the Internet was young, the rules were established that guaranteed nobody could have undue influence over the speed at which information was disseminated.  What this meant for everyone online was that th big multinational conglomerates, which already had a stranglehold on the radio and TV airwaves wouldn't be allowed to monopolize cyberspace. So from 1995 to the present, the Internet had one speed limit for all.  Online businesses, both big and small could prosper.  However, recent events by a number of cable conglomerates are threatening the way in which we all surf the web -- and not for the better.  If you value your ability to work and play online, read this article in its entirety and learn what -- if anything -- you can do about it.  Ignorance will cost you the loss of net neutrality and increase the cost of accessing and using the Internet forever.

Blogging Secrets of the Pros

By Hector Cisneros

Blogging Readiness
Blogging Readiness (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)
So people are saying need to blog to be successful on the Internet today. However, you’ve also heard it takes too long, and you feel you don’t have the skills nor the time to really make blogging work for  you. You may feel that it’s the right thing to do, but you really don’t know where to start.

The reality is, the best way to start blogging is to assess your skills, increase your knowledge of what tasks lie ahead, roll up your sleeves and dig in. To be honest, that’s how I started, but I also had an advantage. A mentor, Dr. Ivan Misner, took the time to teach me and many other Business Network International (BNI) professionals the blogging ropes. In this article, I’ll address the many complaints and excuses that business people make for not blogging. I’ll impart much of what I’ve learned during my own mentoring process and will pass on some of the techniques I discovered on my own.  If you’re ready to start learning the Blogging Secrets of the Pros, read on and get ready to discover the exciting life of writing prose.

Why Blog?

Blogging allows businesses to publish without the constraints of the 20th century. We’re no longer beholden to publishing companies to get shelf space. More importantly, online blogging is a communications platform that can build your credibility, grow your business, and expand your sphere of influence far beyond your wildest dreams. There’s nothing like high quality, relevant content to prove that you're an expert
 in your field. Your blogs become solid proof that you know what you’re talking about. By the way, when I refer to blogs, I’m really talking about high quality, 1,000- to 2,000-word articles; not little paragraphs that were hastily scratched out.

Moo cards for blogging workshop
Moo cards for blogging workshop (Photo credit: Mexicanwave)
With that clarification in mind, from a marketing point of view, blogging has many advantages. It provides authoritative content that can be enhanced with video, pictures, podcast and backlinks. Secondly, it can provide valuable content for social networks. It can grow a real audience that provides more page views than Pay Per Click (PPC) in any medium, dollar-for-dollar.

What it takes from you, as a business person, is a real commitment to produce this high-quality, relevant content on a regular basis, (weekly or twice weekly). Nine times out of ten, when I hear someone say, “blogging isn’t working for them”, it's because they lack the commitment to produce consistent, well-written content.  However, once committed to your success, you’ll learn what you need to know. Events and circumstances will move in the direction of your focus and mentors and other people will appear in your life to help you achieve your goals. A strong commitment to your goals will keep you on track and help make your readership grow.

Common Complaints and Excuses About Blogging

1. It takes too long. This is the most common complaint. True, writing can be a time-consuming endeavor. However, you can save lots of time by employing specific techniques and using pre-defined blogging models. Once you get used to writing a blog, you will become more efficient and your task will take between one to six hours a week, depending on your communication skills. Besides, if you don’t have the time, it can be outsourced for as little as $600 per month, (to create and publish four articles). I’ve found that working from an established  outline from the get-go helps me get over any initial writer’s block and also helps me write more efficiently. This way I’m not always thinking, “Oh no! I have to write another blog. How should I get started?”

Before I sit down to write, I always outline my blog with these elements:
blogging
blogging (Photo credit: hgjohn)
Title
Introduction - Explains the problem or issue; it could also suggest a so
lution or explores a value proposition.
Body - Discussed the elements listed in your introduction
Summary
Call to Action
Author’s Bio

First, I always brain storm for catchy titles. Then I’ll write my intro, which lists what elements I’ll be discussing in the body. Third, I further outline the body by adding detail of the individual elements mentioned in the introduction. I then include a summary statement, which summarizes the main points of the article. I’ll then include a call-to-action statement, asking my readers to do something such as, “share this article with a friend,” “please comment,” etc. The last thing I include is a short, professional bio.

2. I don't know what to write about. It’s relatively easy to figure out what to write about by just doing a little research in your industry. Start your Google search by typing in “articles about XYZ,” (or blogs, choose one). Substitute your industry name or problem for XYZ, in your query. You’ll find more ideas and relevant content this way, then you can imagine.  You’ll also come up with many title ideas for your blogs as well. Now I’m not saying to copy and paste or plagiarize any of this content directly into you’re your own blog (unless you give the author credit, and some cases, obtain his or her permission in advance), just write your article from a different angle and use your own writing style. I like to write in a conversational style and often use passive voice.

Blogging Research Wordle
Blogging Research Wordle (Photo credit: Kristina B)
3. Learning how to conduct research. I partially answered this complaint with my answer above.  Try lots of different queries based on the key phrase in your industry. Include problems and hot topics you see happening in your industry. You will never lack for ideas and content. I also suggest using “Google Alerts,” as it will automate this process even better. It will bring you articles and blog post on a regular basis without you having to actively conduct a search.

4. Dealing with deficiencies in language and communication skills. This may include any weaknesses in grammar, spelling and punctuation. With modern word processing however, software has made great inroads to solving these problems. Your word processor can actually “teach” grammar and spelling today. If you add such other professional grammar and spelling programs as Ginger and Grammarly, you’ll be able to produce clean English prose with few, if any, faux pas in your text. Of course, if your old school you can read books about writing, grammar and punctuation. For example; The Associated Press Stylebook” and The Chicago Manual of Style”? Many of these books are also available in digital format or as online tools as well.

blogger.com logo
blogger.com logo (Photo credit: Colin ZHU)
5. Not knowing how to use a blogging platform like Blogger or Wordpress. Both of these blogging platforms are relatively easy to learn if your goal is to produce a great-looking blog. If you’re a visual learner, YouTube has tons of video tutorials about both of these platforms. Just make sure they’re recent videos so you’re not learning obsolete features about older versions.

30 Best Ways to Promote Your Website or Blog -...
30 Best Ways to Promote Your Website or Blog -
#13 Email Signatures and Business Card |
Sales Tip A Day (Photo credit: Sales Tip A Day)
6. I don't know how to market my blog. Blogging is a social networking endeavor. The most cost effective way to market your blog is through social networking. Social networks have little or no hard cash costs. Your time should be spent posting your blog and other useful information to your followers. This can include useful articles, pictures, list, ebook, etc. about your industry and of course, your unique authored articles. You will also have to spend time inviting followers, building relationships with influencers, (people who lots of people follow) and followers who are willing to share your blogs and posts with their fans. Ask your best customers to provide testimonials and reviews. Have them post these testimonials on their social networks, and always ask your followers and readers to leave comments and share your post with friends, family, co-workers and associates.  A great way to make this happen is to be proactive and help others the way you want them to help you, (givers gain). If you want to learn more about how to build your social following read The Twelve Secrets of Social Media Successand Seven Secrets of Social Media Magnets”. You can also type “Social Media” in the search box of this blog and find more than a dozen other articles and podcast on this subject.

7. ROI or the overall costs. Many non- and novice bloggers are afraid the return on their time and effort won’t be high enough. Consider this: A blog that’s actively being marketed through social media, that’s continually engaging followers and influencers, and that’s consistently producing high quality and useful content will produce more page views than an equal amount spent on Pay Per Click, dollar-f
Blog Marketing Cover
Blog Marketing Cover (Photo credit: jeremywright)
or-dollar. That’s right. We’ve seen clients spend $500/ month with the right key words, with good ads that have been AB-tested, which actually perform worse than the client’s blog, which cost them the exact same amount per month. (We charge $500 per month to ghost write blogs for our clients). Furthermore , their AdWords campaign was producing 200+ page views per month while their blog was garnering 500+ page views a month. This won’t happen with a poorly written blog with mediocre content, that’s produced erratically, and with inactive distribution. But when all are well executed and setup correctly, the blog will always win. More importantly, their blogs have a much higher credibility score, whereas ads pointing to the client’s landing page has a much lower trust factor. Most small business lack marketing funds, but often can invest their time instead. If you have the money but little time, outsource the blogging and make sure you include funds for the social distribution elements as well.

8. The need for immediate gratification.  The truth is there’s no easy way to make a blog successful over night. You can get on Page One with a lower trust PPC ad over night with AdWords, but it’s by no means as valuable as an organically produced Page One listing from a blog post. The good news is that an established blog (one that’s been producing quality, weekly articles for about three months) can jump onto Page One quickly because blogger blogs, (owned by Google) are indexed daily. Your well-optimized blog post can actually show up in Google search much faster than your website or landing page. Also, if you connect with lots of people (especially through Google+), your Blogger-posted blog will show 
Blog Machine
Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)
up in their key word search (because you are connected to them via Google+). Google Search gives a priority not only to the key words that someone types when conducting a search, but also who they are connected to. Your social sharing and your followers social sharing directly effects what’s listed in search. The connection here is Google and using Google apps and web properties.

Finally, it’s important to realize that your blog can serve as your main website. Blogs can hold all kinds of information, just like a website or landing page. This can include, videos, pictures, lead forms, offers — and yes — you can even sell right from your blog pages. They can be edited and customized with HTML 5 code. Blogger has zero hosting costs and, because Google owns Blogger, it’s also indexed daily for Google Search. This means your post will be added to Google’s search much faster than a regular web page or even a Word Press page.

In this article, I discussed the important role blogs have in online marketing for businesses today. I listed solutions to eight common complaints/excuses that business people make for not blogging. I also discussed how blogging can be a very cost-effective, high-trust marketing tool, which, when used properly, generally yields better ROI than Pay Per Click campaigns. These eight solutions lay out a framework for making blogging easier and generate better ROI than many other forms of marketing.  If you’re looking to improve your credibility and standing in your industry, blogging is a great tool. If you’re looking to use your industry expertise as a marketing weapon to get more customers and grow your business, then blogging is worth your time.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

If you found this article informative, share it with your friends, family, co-workers and associates. If you’d like to read other articles we've written on this subject, enter "blogging" in the search box and you’ll find more than a dozen to choose from. In particular, I suggest reading “The Secrets of Blogging for Dollars." If you have something to add, just leave a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses.

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Hector Cisneros is a partner and COO for Working The Web To Win based in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook,  Google+LinkedIn, and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of Blog Talk Radio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Carl Weiss make Working the Web to Win simple for every business. Hector is a syndicated writer for EzineOnline and is an active blogger, (including ghost writing) and is a published author of three books: “60 Seconds to Success” (on sale at Amazon and B&N), “Internet Marketing for the 21st Century” (get it free by clicking on the link at Workingthewebtowin.com); and is the co-author of the new book, based on he and Weiss’ popular BlogTalkRadio show, “Working the Web to Win,” now on Amazon.com.

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